If your congregation is interested in buying a church there are several major differences between buying a church compared with buying a home.
1. As always, Location is important. However, when you are searching for the right location for a church you will need to consider different critera than when you are looking for the right place to live. Often churches relocate to a site which can be 10 miles or more from their previous location and still maintain a high percentage of their membership. Today, the content and context of the ministry is more important than driving distance from their home.
2. Size of the worship sanctuary is important to not only accomodate the present congregation but allow for growth.
3. Parking can be important, yet many churches still draw from the neighborhood and many rely on members using public trannsportation.
3. Room for the total ministry is important as today congregations desire to expand their ministry beyond Sunday Morning to include day care, senior care, youth activities, education classrooms, conferences, banquets, and other neighborhood specific activities.
4. Financing a church is different than financing a home purchase. It will involve greater equity, evidence of resources to repay the debt, incorporation of your church entity, and length of time your church has been established.
5. Proper zoning is important to know that the community will permit a tax exempt church to locate at a specific site. No longer can you assume that just because a building was formerly used as a church that its use will automatically continue to be permitted.
6. Inviromental issues need to be considered and this will involve a Phase One enviromental study which may lead to a Phase Two study if there is evidence of any site contamination. This often becomes a condition of the loan approval.
These are some of the important points to consider when deciding on the right property for your new church. To help you evaluate these concerns, you need to work closely with a Realtor who has the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process of transitioning your ministry.
George Zoellick has been blessed with the privilege of assisting over forty-five congregations in growing their ministries by finding new facilities. He knows what needs to be done and how to get the processed accomplished. He will save your congregation money, time, and effort.
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